USF Tells Graduating Students Not To Take Selfies When Receiving Their Diplomas

TAMPA, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – Graduates at the University of South Florida are getting ready to receive their diplomas in the coming weeks, but they better leave their cell phones at home.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, an ad was placed in the student newspaper asking graduating students to refrain from inappropriate behavior, which includes stepping, strolling, marching, or taking selfies when picking up their diplomas on stage.

“We want students to think about the dignity of the ceremony,” Michael A. Freeman, USF assistant vice president and dean for students told the paper. “It’s supposed to be exciting, but it’s a serious academic ceremony.”

The school will allow for a simple handshake and a professional photo will be taken of each graduate on state with USF president Judy Genshaft.

Freeman warns that students who try to snap a quick shot with Genshaft could have their degree withheld.

“The last thing I want to do on someone’s graduation day – which is supposed to be one of the best days of your life – is enforce some policy with a penalty or consequences,” Freeman told the Times.

Student body president Will Warmke said he saw about 15 people take selfies last year with Genshaft.

“I feel bad for the person behind the person taking the selfies because now they have to wait for their moment,” Warmke told the Tampa Bay Times. “I would love to have a selfie with president Genshaft but there’s a time and place for taking photos with the president that wouldn’t hinder the graduation process with other students.”

USF joins other universities across the country in trying to keep a certain behavior at graduation. University of Florida asked its graduating students to turn off their cellphones and Bryant University in Rhode Island announced they will have a ban on selfies at this year’s graduation.

USF will award degrees to 6,431 students at their graduation ceremony on May 2.

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